Mother Demands DOJ Investigate Police Killing of India Kager

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India Kager

India Kager – Mother and Navy Veteran

Washington, DC – Gina Best, the mother of India Kager, who was killed by Virginia Beach Police, delivered a petition to the Department of Justice on Thursday, to investigate her daughter’s killing. She was accompanied by Black Lives Matter activists, and demanded an “independent parallel investigation”. Six months after her daughter was killed she has yet to receive an official report from the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s office.

Kager died with Angelo Perry, her child’s father, on September 5th, 2015, when Virginia Beach police fired 30 shots into her car and deployed flash-bang grenades. Her four-month-old son was strapped in his car seat behind them but was not injured. Police confiscated a video sequencing the incident at the 7-11 parking lot at Lynnhaven Parkway and Salem Road, where the shooting took place.

Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has still not responded to the Best family’s request to release the detail of the police report, the autopsy, the names of the officers involved, or the 7-11 video of the incident. The Virginia Beach police also have still not returned India’s personal belongings or her car to Best.

Gina Best is seeking the facts of the case so she and her family can come to terms with her daughter’s death and begin to move towards closure.

Kager was a Navy Veteran, who was Honorably discharged after serving four years in 2013. She had earned a good conduct medal and other decorations. Both her father and grandfather are retired Washington, DC police officers. She was never in trouble with the law or even had a traffic infraction, according to Best.

India Kager

Gina Best (center) and supporters pleading with DOJ press secretary Kevin Lewis – credit John Zangas

When Best visited the DOJ, Kevin Lewis, the Dept press secretary, met her at the front doors where she pleaded with him to help her. Her voice faltered with emotion several times as she spoke.

Best told Lewis her daughter had never been in any trouble and was not being sought by police. She said her daughter was a sensitive, caring mother who played five musical instruments, and was a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of Arts, requiring an audition to attend. And she would be alive today had the SWAT team given her a chance to comply with their orders, she added.

“If they had given her a chance to survive, she would have complied and they did not do that,” Best said.

“My cries have gone unheard,” she said to Lewis. “They have to stop killing us.”

Lewis expressed his condolences to Best, promising he would deliver her petition to the Attorney General.

Video: Gina Best pleads with Kevin Lewis, the Department Press Secretary, to launch a parallel investigation of the VBPD because they have not released any information to her about her daughters death.

India Kager’s story has been largely eclipsed behind a dark blue line of prominent police killings of many unarmed Blacks preceding it. It would not have been exposed had Best not been persistent with support from mothers who have also lost children to police brutality.

Carla Martin, who is co-founder of Truth Seekers for India Kager, believes comprehensive changes to law enforcement practices are needed. “The Department of Justice does not have a uniform process to govern law enforcement agencies across the country,” she said. As a result, when innocent bystanders are killed in law enforcement actions, investigators can obscure facts in a bureaucratic haze.

Martin also believes that Angelo Perry received no due process because of the manner in which the police executed the stop. “[India Kager] and her companion Angelo Perry, were killed within 15 seconds and this is according to the chief of Virginia Beach police, Jim Cevera,” she said.

Cevera held a press conference on December 8 of last year, outlining crimes in which Perry was a person of interest. He said that weapons confiscated after the shooting had been used in other crimes but did not positively link Perry to having committed those crimes. Cevera admitted the killing of Kager was “accidental.”

Jerold Sanders, President of Justice is ONUS Inc., said that India Kager’s case is part of “a systemic problem that demands a systemic solution.” She formed Justice is ONUS to confront serious community issues head on by using resources already available in those communities.

She is advocating passage of new legislation called the Uniform Reporting Law Enforcement Improvement Act (URLEIA), which she says will require systemic change to law enforcement agencies. Across the board changes to law enforcement practices are needed now in order to stop police from killing innocents, such as India Kager and many others.

There is not yet any Congressional support for the act because of overwhelming resistance from FOPs and police unions. “We have legislative leaders who are putting their self-interests before the interests of communities while children are being gunned down in the streets,” said Sanders.

Sanders said the act has received a lot of endorsements, including Blacks in Government and Concerned Black Men of America. Getting it sponsored in Congress will “require a serious grass-roots effort,” she said.

For Gina Best and many others struggling to cope with loss of loved ones, change to law enforcement can no longer wait.

India Kager

Supporters demand justice for India Kager at DOJ in Wash DC – credit John Zangas

Related link:
Virginia beach police release ballistics results from double fatal shooting




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About Author

John Zangas is a journalist, photographer and contributor to Revolution News. Follow him on Twitter @johnzangas